Hands on with the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
Is Google’s new handset as revolutionary as rumoured? We found out.
15 Oct 2019
With so many flagship phones boasting high quality cameras, longer battery life and new features, Google were going to have to do something special to get noticed with their Pixel 4. And with the Made By Google Event on 15th October, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL were finally revealed. So, have Google delivered something truly game changing? We got hands on with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL to find out.
Pixel 4 looks and design
The design is unmistakeably Pixel, but you will notice some differences. For one thing, there’s now a dual camera. What’s interesting about this is that the cameras look understated and hidden – whereas they were made prominent on the iPhone 11 series.
The Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch OLED FHD+ display whereas the Pixel 4 XL has a larger 6.3-inch OLED QHD+ screen. Whichever size you go for, games, content and viewing photos looks great.
Although it’s undeniably a sleek, beautiful device, you might notice larger bezels running around the edge of the phone. The reason for this seems to be the new Motion Sense hardware. More on that later.
How good is the Pixel 4 camera?
You get two cameras: a 12 MP wide lens and a 16 MP telephoto lens. This comes with optical image stabilisation. As well as taking crisp, beautiful pictures – the zoom is also really impressive. Using some clever computation, the Pixel 4 has an 8x zoom which captures incredible detail.
Taking photos on the Pixel 4
So, we’ve mentioned how good the pictures are. But there are also some new and improved modes which are definitely worth pointing out. Night mode has been enhanced further, so you get clear pictures in low light conditions with no noise.
Then there’s a new astrophotography mode, which will capture pictures of the Milky Way. Yes, really. Wherever your loyalties lie, you’d have to admit this was genuinely impressive.
Shooting in 4K at 30 frames per second, the Pixel 4 matches the standard set by other flagship phones. You can record from the front and back cameras and then there’s very clever tech which irons out motion blur.
Pixel 4 vs Pixel 3 - what's new?
Just because the Pixel 4 is the new kid on the block, it doesn’t mean that the Google Pixel 3 isn’t still a fantastic phone with a lot to offer. But what are the main differences with the Pixel 4? We break them down:
Updated Google Assistant
If you’ve got any new Google product, you’ll be familiar with Google Assistant. It’s a voice-activated system that will allow you to play music, ask questions, plan your day and so much more just by asking. The new generation Google Assistant will allow you to do even more and, once you set it up, you’ll be able to control smart devices in your house just by asking.
Using Motion Sense, Quick Gestures can be set up so that you can mute an alarm, skip music tracks and more just by using hand gestures that your phone can sense. Right now, we can imagine this coming in handy when you’re cooking in the kitchen or getting your hands dirty – but the applications of this could be huge.
There’s also more power under the hood thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. This means you’ll get a smooth and seamless experience as you play games, switch between apps and browse the internet.
Other top Pixel 4 features
We’ve only just scratched the surface here, as Google begin to unveil new features as time goes on. But two of our other fave things about the Pixel 4 include:
The Pixel 4 can learn what you look like and unlock the phone by recognising your face. We can see this functionality being extended into other security situations – like making payments.
Longer battery life
Adaptive battery learns your favourite apps and stops power going to ones you don’t use so often. This means that the Pixel 4 and 4 XL will adapt to you while squeezing more life out of your battery. When it comes to recharging, you can rely on USB-C fast charging and Qi-enabled wireless charging.